Exeter City 1, Norwich City 1

Norwich City picked up their first league point of the season in their first game following Bryan Gunn's sacking. All the talk on the terraces was about the sacking of Gunn and his replacement at the Canaries' helm as both sides battled out a dull first half.

In a funny sort of way, a dull 1-1 away draw was just what Norwich City needed.

After the madness, badness and sadness of the previous week, the Canaries went into Saturday's game managerless and pointless - possibly even rudderless.

Following the lows, highs and lows again win a 7-1 loss a 4-0 win and the sacking of boss Bryan Gunn, the last thing more than a thousand City fans who made the long trek down to St James' Park wanted was another rollercoaster of emotions.

And the mediocre fare served up by the Canaries and Exeter City was in stark contrast to the opening seven days of City's League One adventure - but more like the sort of game we expected.


You may also want to watch:


Certainly, City were far more solid at the back, which was undoubtedly target number one for caretaker boss and former central defender Ian Butterworth.

Michael Spillane looks more secure at right-back than Jon Otsemobor, although he clearly does not offer the same attacking potential, while on the other flank Adam Drury is returned to the sort of fitness and form which has made him one of the club's best players in the past few years.

Most Read

In the centre, Gary Doherty and Jens Berthel Askou were a far better partnership than the two chaps who looked like they had only met moments before the kick- off against Yeovil Town.

It was the foundation on which the visitors took on a promoted side who had suffered their own tricky start to the campaign.

There was a raucous atmosphere in the ground before kick-off, with the crowd's song led mainly, and bizarrely, by director of football Steve Perryman sitting at the back of one of the stands.

He stamped his feet and tried to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

But they were not helped by the football on show. The game took a age to settle, while both sides regularly bypassed the midfield in an effort to get the ball up front as quickly as possible.

Still, when City did produce some good football they should have taken the lead.

Wes Hoolahan, who delighted and frustrated again, slipped a lovely ball through to Cody McDonald, to put the young striker clean through on goal.

McDonald did the hard work, by rounding keeper Paul Jones and his bright orange kit, but with the goal at his mercy his tame effort was cleared off the line by the fast- retreating Steve Tully.

It was the chance of the game, although as the half came to a close, Doherty should have done better than head over from Hoolahan's cross, when a corner was only half cleared.

But whatever Butterworth said in the dressing room during the interval had the desired effect as City came racing out of the traps in the second half.

First Simon Whaley blasted a 25-yard thunderbolt against the bar, before City took the lead in the 53rd minute.

Again a City corner was only cleared out to Hoolahan. The Irishman delivered a cross to the far post and Berthel Askou rose impressively at the far post to head past Jones and in off the post from a dozen yards out.

Tom Adeyemi then should have done better than blaze over from the edge of the box as City looked to kill off the game, but just seven minutes after their goal came the equaliser.

Exeter boss Paul Tisdale had thrown on Craig McAllister and Richard Logan, and it was the latter who applied the killer touch.

Former Ipswich Town striker Marcus Stewart picked up the ball on the right and delivered an inswinging cross to Logan, another ex-Town man, who was unmarked to head home beyond Ben Alnwick from the penalty spot with his first touch.

The goal fired up the home side and they applied plenty of pressure in a bid to find the winning goal.

The impressive Ryan Harley was pulling the strings, but most of their attacks petered out and Alnwick did not have a shot to save.

At the other end, the McDonald- Grant Holt partnership was not firing, with both men appearing strangely out of sorts.

With just eight minutes left, Butterworth sent on Simon Lappin for Wes Hoolahan in a bid to shore things up and take a point.

But Lappin almost created a golden chance for City when he fed McDonald, but Troy Archibald-Henville, who had an impressive game, marshalled the striker away from his goal and away from danger.

All in all it was a poor game. Physical and competitive, rough and tumble but lacking quality, especially in the final third.

Indeed, it was the kind of game Gunn had been expecting this season.

After last week, it was nice to get what we expected. For a change.

 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus